Monday, 5 March 2018

A gunman killed his brother. Now Farris Barakat is on an American journey.

On the house that Farris Barakat built, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. wrap around the porch overhang, as though they were protection from the outside world: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
It took his brother's death for Farris to fully embrace those words.

In February 2015, Deah Barakat was gunned down along with his wife of six weeks, Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan.

News of the triple slaying at a Chapel Hill apartment complex reverberated here and around the world as another instance of hatred toward Muslims. A neighbor was charged with three counts of murder but not a hate crime -- sparking further outrage.
The deaths yanked Farris from his life's trajectory and set him on one he had not anticipated.
At 24, he abandoned his courier business and everything else to speak out against hate. He devoted much of his time to renovating a 105-year-old rental house his brother had owned in a rundown neighborhood east of downtown Raleigh.
Farris named it for his brother. Deah means "light" in Arabic, and The Light House now serves as a center for youth, a gathering place Farris hopes will further Deah's dreams for a more tolerant America.

Here, at this house, Farris hopes to find the light that was so cruelly snuffed out.

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